A Humboldt penguin chick hatched at the Akron Zoo on Saturday, May 11. The penguin’s parents are Dr. Oswald Cobblepot and Big Bertha from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The egg was a high priority in terms of genetic diversity and the decision was made by the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) to send the egg to the Akron Zoo.
The chick is being fostered by Pez and Gabriella, who are also parents to Rico, the penguin chick who hatched at the Akron Zoo in June 2018.
The chick currently weighs in at one pound and is doing well. The chick will remain in his or her habitat with Pez and Gabriella. Before joining the penguin colony, the chick will need to eat on his or her own, lose its down feathers and pass a swim test.
Currently, the Akron Zoo is home to 13 Humboldt penguins. Since 2003, when the zoo opened Penguin Point, 17 penguin chicks have been hatched.
Accredited through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Akron Zoo participates in the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a scientifically managed breeding program that works to ensure a healthy, genetically-diverse population of Humboldt penguins.
Humboldt penguins are found in their home range on the coasts of Peru and Chile and are currently vulnerable to extinction. The decline in penguin numbers is due to the harvesting of guano by local farmers for use in agricultural fertilizer, which destroys penguin nesting locations.